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Published: June 21st 2017
Geo: 35.6962, 51.4229
We broke our journey north from Esfehan to Tehran at Kashan famous for Traditional merchants houses, roses and the garden nearby at Fin. Designed for Shah Abbas I these are regarded as the epitome of Persian Garden design. Fortunately they have their own spring delivering water from the mountains so the sounds of splashing and gurgling were everywhere. Few flowers, a few roses, but lovely trees and a couple of lovely pavilions from which to enjoy it all. Also famous because a 19th Century reforming prime minister, Amir Kahn, was assassinated here by those not keen on his reforms - like public schooling.
Next door to the traditional house we visited was a small mosque holding a special event. Those people in the neighbourhood who claim to be descended from the Prophet (you can tell them apart - mullahs wear a black turban rather than white and non-mullahs were wearing green scarves - no women ivolved, so no surprise there!) anyway they were hosting a little tea party for all comers, so we had tea and sticky cakes on them.
Tehran is a massive city of 11 or 14 million people, depending who you believe. The traffic is manic and we
went on the metro whichwas so crowded (at lunch time) it made the Northern Line in the morning rush hour look spacious.
We visited the Archaeological Museum (also calledthe National Museum), several buildings in the 19th Century Golestan Palace, the Bazaar - not all 10km of it, Park e-Shahr - an oasis of calm away from the hurtling traffic, and the Jewel Museum - London's Crown Jewels on majoir steroids. Think trays of diamonds and sapphires and garnets, think the crowns of the kings and their queens, think the largest pink diamond in the world at 182 carats called The Sea of Light, think a jewel encusted globe, over 50,000 jewels, weighing 34kg where the seas are made from emeralds and the land from rubies except for Iran, FRance and Britain which are picked out in diamonds. Think of jewelled umbrellas and swords and rifles, think of the Peacock Throne - a daybed covered with over 25,000 stones. All in the worst possible taste - but how could so many jewels be otherwise? Soheil, the guide, had got us there very early for the 2pm opening and I couldn't work out why until we had to push our way through the
throng of tourists waiting to go in as we left. They had a long wait coming.
And so today I said goodbye to Soheil. I have free time tomorrow before being picked up by a cat at 7pm to go to the station for my 60 hour train ride to Ankara.
Later I went to the park to read and drink tea - but you get little reading done. A steady stream of people (men) say Hello, and Where are you from? and then decide to practice their English on you. Actually they are quite surprised when you tell them you are English - very few of us get here, which is a crying shame! Anyway eventually one of these men turned out to be a teacher of English and spoke it surprisingly well, and he has appointed himself my honorary guide for tomorrow!
So this will be my last entry from foreign fields. As good as the trains might be they don't stretch to wi-fi! I shall do a post about the journey from home.
Hope you have got some enjoyment out of the reading and the pics. Hope to see you all soon.
PS - I shall be celebrating (or not) my
Birthday on a train.
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